Italian street artist Fra.Biancoshock knows how to turn heads. While he frequently uses the standard street-art materials like spray paint and stencils, his pieces tend to take a more satirical route. Fra.Biancoshock”s art uses all kinds of props, signs, and images to make passersby do a double take, as well as to make a few snarky statements about urban living and socialization. Primarily based in Milan, the artist has staged his pieces all over the world, both in public spaces and in galleries.
Fra.Biancoshock refers to his work as “Ephemeralism,” meaning the pieces are not designed to be permanent fixtures. Walls are painted over, strange props are removed from street corners, and he understands this. The temporary nature of his art makes it all the more interesting. It”s like a secret you”re lucky to catch.
Using found objects, architectural features, and props, Fra.Biancoshock sets up scenes that are at once hilarious, surreal, and bitingly satirical–or just plain absurd. His work has included social commentary about the environment, social isolation, and poverty. He also creates installations that seem to be there simply to make people smile, including a giant Pac-Man poised to gobble up spherical road dividers.
Use of existing objects to create art is also known as “hijacking.” In this method of producing art, the artist appropriates something they didn”t create for their own purposes, turning it into something completely new by changing its context. As a result, a building”s corner becomes a man-crushing weight, a puddle becomes home to a strange creature, and those guardrail spheres become Pac-Man food.
Other projects deal with the darker themes that come with modern urban living, including homelessness, isolation, surveillance, and environmental health. Fra.Biancoshock tackles these using the same cheeky sense of irreverent humor. Security cameras are given something else to look at for a while, tree stumps are turned into memorials with votive offerings, and fast food is lampooned by way of a similarly shaped garbage container.
Whatever the message behind the work (assuming there is one at all), Fra.Biancoshock”s work around Milan is something that makes people stop and look. It creates a blip in the daily grind that reminds us that there”s still some humor in the world, and that maybe we”re taking the wrong things seriously. You can see more of Fra.Biancoshock”s work on his website, and keep up with his ever-changing and ephemeral pieces on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.